Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online
MINOT, ND – If you’ve ever driven south of Minot towards Bismarck, North Dakota, you probably noticed the prominent wind farm straddling Highway 83.
That wind farm has been there for 20 years now, and according to its operator, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, two of the turbines have reached the end of their useful service lives and had to come down. This is what Basin posted on its website on March 14:
The ground shook when each of two 200-foot-tall wind turbines fell to the ground today. The turbines were built in 2002, the beginning of what would become Minot Wind, a project spearheaded by Basin Electric and its member Central Power Electric Cooperative. The turbines are located beside Highway 83 about 14 miles south of Minot, North Dakota.
“Basin Electric is a pioneer in wind generation in North Dakota. These two turbines were built 20 years ago, and it was the beginning of Basin Electric’s commitment to wind energy in the state,” said Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Todd Telesz. “The project that followed near Minot became the largest wind project owned solely by a cooperative in the United States at that time, only to be surpassed by another Basin Electric wind project in South Dakota. Basin Electric and our members have never being afraid to make big things happen in rural America.”
“The turbines are being taken down because they are at the end of their useful life, and parts and service are no longer available,” said Joe Fiedler, Basin Electric manager of distributed generation. “While it is possible to repower wind turbines in many instances, these two cannot be repowered because their foundations are not large enough to support the larger equipment that would be necessary. Because it isn’t possible in this case, we are committed to reclaiming the site.”
Wind is part of the cooperative’s all-of-the above energy strategy, which is based on a diverse mixture of resources that provide reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy to its members.
North Dakota has gone into wind-powered generation in a big way since then. In recent years, the horizon south of Estevan is dotted at night with the red lights atop numerous turbines.
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